At SLI, we’ve always known that shoppers who search are the most valuable. Why? Because these shoppers tell you what they want to buy which gives you a fantastic opportunity.
According to the recent Forrester Research report “Must-Have eCommerce Features,” it’s critical that retailers support “spearfishers” – or shoppers who already have a specific product or brand in mind (versus those aimlessly browsing).
To achieve this, Forrester suggests casting one’s hook with easy-to-use site search, including autocomplete, and clear categories to support spearfishers who want to find, buy and move on. Additional research upholds Forrester’s findings as:
- 8 seconds is the average time visitors spend before deciding whether or not to remain on a site (MarketingSherpa)
- 43 percent of visitors immediately go to the search box (MarketingSherpa) and searchers are 2-3x more likely to convert than non-searchers
- 50 percent of users prefer to use a site’s internal search engine, as opposed to navigating the site (E-Commerce Times)
It’s clear that many online shoppers are spearfishers, which is why it is important for retailers to quickly serve up the products they are looking for.
Top Tips to Hook Spearfishers with Smart Site Search
Here are our top tips to help you provide your most focused shoppers with a satisfying search experience that leads to improved conversions and sales:
Autocomplete with Graphics – Type Less, Buy More
A critical feature for speed in site search is the ability to show product results with images from the first letter a searcher types. It gives shoppers one-click access to products they want to buy, reducing the number of clicks from search to purchase.
For even better guidance, also show search suggestions based on category, brand or department to let shoppers quickly jump to the right section of results. For example, a search for wine at Fortnum & Mason immediately shows popular choices and categories for wine gifts, wine glasses, wine and cheese, etc.
Moreover, allow users to preview products of interest right within the autocomplete box. For instance, update products displayed when users hover over search suggestions to give them more choices and increase engagement.
Jump Directly to a Results Page When You Know the Answer
Use redirects when you want to take visitors to a particular page on your site, rather than showing search results for a query or class of queries. For example, if there is only one result, it may make sense to take the visitor directly there, rather than showing them the search results page. When visitors type in a specific product or SKU numbers, take them directly to the product page.
Create Landing Pages Related to Specific Keywords
For some popular search terms, you may want to redirect users to a specific site search page tailored to that search keyword. For example, you may already have landing pages dedicated to particular brands. When visitors search for specific brands, you can send them to the related brand page instead of a generic search results page.
For example, Sports Unlimited serves up a landing page for any Under Armour brand searches. We recommend examining your site search reports to identify the most popular searches. Then consider whether you can provide a better experience by having dedicated landing pages for some searches.
Optimize the Mobile Experience
Speed and ease are especially critical for mobile “spearfisher” shoppers. Ensure your autocomplete helps you capture sales from your small-screen shoppers with dedicated mobile and tablet designs that automatically display options correctly regardless of device size and orientation.
As John Tomich stated in a recent article for Multichannel Merchant, “A successful mobile interaction with your customer is one in which everything is obvious, easy and fast.” He cites that mobile shoppers overwhelmingly prefer social logins for ease of use. Express checkout and easy payment options are as critical here as with any shopping site.